2010 – A Recap

As we move forward and set our eyes on what’s in store for 2011, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on all that which we’ve accomplished in 2010.  Without your continued support and dedication though, none of this would have been possible.  Thanks you!  [Click the links below to read more detail about each accomplishment.]

In 2010 we…


We partnered with some great companies, organizations, individuals, and brands in 2010 to help spread awareness about water issues throughout Charleston.  With support from these partners, we have been able to better protect the public’s right to clean water.  We feel especially lucky to have partnered with Alexandra Cousteau and National Geographic’s Blue Legacy Expedition, Band of Horses, SC Aquarium, Twitpay & RT2Give, warmwinds software, Ted’s Butcherblock, and so many more!


When an unforeseen issue threatens a community’s well-being and the public’s right to clean water, it is important for all of us to rally in support to see that our rights and our natural resources are protected.  In 2010 we organized and took part in over a dozen beach cleanups, removing thousands of pieces of debris and trash from our coastline.  Some of these cleanups included the annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep, a 5th of July cleanup of Morris Island, and cleanups with Chucktown Squash,the College of Charleston’s SAE fraternity, and other enthusiastic groups of volunteers.

In addition, 2010 was the year we all witnessed perhaps the most devastating man-made environmental disaster of our nation’s history.  In the days following the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, founder Cyrus Buffum created the Save Our Gulf campaign.  With help from Giant Hawk Media, the Save Our Gulf website became the central clearinghouse for all news, photos, updates, videos, and stories collected by the Gulf Waterkeepers on the front lines.  Teva and Band of Horses also helped out with a PSA made in support of the campaign.


In order to protect the public’s right to clean water, we believe it’s necessary to celebrate our right to clean water while also educating one another on the rights we have and the issues infringing on these rights.  As a result, we set out to plan an annual event that would serve as a platform to do just that!  In 2010 we hosted the very first Water Ball – an incredibly successful event that helped raise awareness about our efforts as an organization.  In addition, we teamed up with Alexandra Cousteau to host a Water Village on the College of Charleston, and began our monthly happy hours at FISH Restaurant.


Since our establishment, Charleston Waterkeeper has been fortunate to have received an abundant amount of press and praise for our efforts.  We’re incredibly proud of all the support shown by the media in 2010!  We’re especially excited by the following recognitions and features: College of Charleston Magazine’s “In Deep: A Love Story Written in Water” (PDF version), founder Cyrus Buffum’s recognition as a finalist of GQ’s Better Men Better World Search, and the NPR/SCETV interview featured on Your Day.


To protect our right to clean water, we must first be aware of our right, know the issues threatening this right, and understand how we can each play a role in assuring that this right is protected.  For this reason, we put a lot of time and energy during 2010 into our education and outreach activities.  To get a sense of some of the educational activities we took part in, here are just a few… Charleston Peace One Day, presentation at REDUX’s Double Vision Lecture Series, Summer Splash at the Sullivan’s Island Children’s Library, visits to over 6 local schools (ranging in grades from 1st to high school), lectured and set up over 12 booths and/or tables throughout the year at local festivals, markets, and community events.  We even built a “Water Machine” to show the influence each of you can have in defending our waterways from pollution.


As an organization driven by data, it’s important for us to get our hands dirty to uncover the facts behind an issue in order to address the root cause.  2010 was an exciting year in terms of our research projects.  For example, we launched and completed our copper study, began our NPDES review (an audit of every industrial polluter throughout the Lowcountry), partnered with the aquarium to begin our water quality monitoring program, and continued our regular patrols throughout Charleston’s waterways.  We’re looking forward to expanding our research and testing abilities in 2011.


We’re so incredibly proud to be a part of the Waterkeeper Alliance.  We join nearly 200 Waterkeeper programs across 6 continents in the fight for clean water and strong communities.  While at the annual Waterkeeper Alliance conference in La Paz, Mexico this year, we tapped into the wisdom and experience of other Waterkeepers to learn more about important issues such as marine debris, industrial pollution, stormwater runoff, Clean Water Act violations, and more.

We’re always eager to grow our technological capabilities, and in 2010, we did just that.  Through a partnership with warmwinds software, we launched our Waterkeeper iPhone app, giving the public one more tool to assure that our waterways are protected.

Internally, we began establishing our founding board of directors, grew our membership to over 250 supporters, added dozens of volunteer opportunities, hosted two interns from the College of Charleston, grew our monthly e-newsletter to reach over 1,500 people, and maintained a list of over 35 active and eager volunteers.

We’re already well underway with our plans for 2011 and look forward to your continued support and involvement!  Thanks again for making 2010 an amazing year!

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